Barriers to collaboration are a concerning setback to have in your business. Effective collaboration is key to ensure a smooth-running organization and having strong client collaboration will keep your customers happy and have them returning again and again. There are so many benefits to collaborating well with your colleagues and clients, like providing a great way to generate new ideas, evolve existing ones and generally be more productive.
Teams that have good client collaboration generate better results for their business, which is one of the most important goals for a company to strive for in order to maximise your business’s potential. In this article we’ll look at the importance of collaboration between organizations and their clients, the barriers to successful client collaboration, and explore the ways in which these barriers can be broken down.
Why should your organization be focusing on client collaboration?
There are three main reasons as to why your organization should focus its attention towards client collaboration, from saving time and money to increasing client loyalty - let’s take a look at them in more detail.
Collaboration enables two-way participation in a project and allows you to open up to your clients. This means you can give your clients much-needed transparency throughout each task. Having this openness in your working relationship and through welcoming feedback and opinions from your clients, they will feel valued and more willing to work with you again in the future.
Increase client loyalty
If you want long-term clients, you’ll have to incorporate collaboration into your strategy. Collaboration increases engagement, and engaged clients are happy and committed ones. You’ll also find that the more loyal your clients are to your business, the more advocates you’ll attract for your brand.
Save time and money
Not working together effectively and having poor communication can end up in you wasting time and money on projects as you trace where things went wrong. Having great client collaboration levels in the first place can avoid all this, so it is worth establishing best practices in place first to ensure working on projects together can be
After identifying the reasons for focusing our attention on the clients, let’s look at the issues you may need to overcome to achieve good client collaboration.
What are the barriers to collaboration and working effectively with clients?
No centralized location for collaborative working
A single workplace in the cloud, especially as more work is carried out online, is essential for client collaboration. Without it storage can become messy, files can get lost, communication can grow sporadic, and this will leave you with unhappy clients. Setting yourself up with the right tools for a collaborative workspace is a great way to make sure your collaboration with clients is top notch.
Inefficiency caused by distance and time differences
When your organization is working with clients on an international scale, you’re still going to want the efficiency of being able to collaborate together as if you’re in the same room. However, distance and time zone differences are going to cause delays in progress, especially if you’re still relying on phone calls and email to keep projects moving. What makes a huge difference to preventing poor client communications with problems like this is ensuring your technology is best set up to support you.
Disorganized management of important documentation
A well organised file management system will go unnoticed and allow you to simply get on with your work when it is at its best, but it is hugely noticeable when it is badly organised. Without a good filing system, if a client wants to find a file that you’ve already shared with them, chances are that they will need to go through previous emails in search of an attachment. And failing that, they’ll be on the phone to you, asking to send over another copy. Disorganized file management can be a huge setback for your business.
How can these issues be overcome and effective collaboration be achieved?
Now that some of the barriers to collaboration have been identified, we can begin looking at the necessary steps towards creating more effective collaboration between your organization and its clients. Though these barriers to collaboration are arguably small, the problems that can arise from not getting these right can be hugely costly for your organization.
A client portal can be the solution to your problems as they are designed to improve the way in which your clients interact with your organization. Clients will be able to access and share content and communicate with your business – securely, from a central cloud location. Let’s have a look at how effective client collaboration can be accomplished by introducing a client portal into your organization.
Create a secure space to share from anywhere
Client portals enable organizations to come together with clients, within a centralized and secure environment. They allow your clients to simply log in (securely, with measures such as two-factor authentication), upload and view files, have discussions and communicate, organize tasks, set events and much more.
Encourage active participation
With access to a client portal, clients can actively participate and collaborate with your business from within the solution. Whether that’s to provide feedback and sign off on a document, contribute to a group chat, plan a task, update an event and more – geographical location and time zone differences will no longer be an issue.
Make it easy to access information
You can reduce the amount of time it takes for your clients to search for their documents by making everything accessible from their portal. Information can be categorized and easy to find with a quick search or click of a button. You’ll also be eliminating the frustration of relying on email and sending attachments back and forth, which is both insecure and inefficient.
Now that you have a better understanding of client portals, and how they can enable effective client collaboration between your organization and its clients, you can look at the solutions for collaborative working. If you’re ready to break down your own barriers to communication, Clinked can help you keep your information in one place, with customized and secure portals. Clients and team members can access their documents, discussions, events, tasks and more – all from a centralized environment.
Olivia Weatherill is Clinked's Content Marketing Associate.